“India needs to think out of the box and plan ahead to take tourism to new heights.”
This was Mr Narendra Modi, hon’ble prime minister of India, speaking during a post-budget webinar ‘Developing Tourism in Mission Mode’. The prime minister is known to have devised unique ideas to promote tourism in Gujarat and India during his tenure as chief minister of the state and prime minister of the country respectively.
During his speech, the PM pointed out an important thing about tourism in India. Tracing back the source of the current scenario of tourism, PM said that yatras were the earliest and ancient forms of travel in India. Unlike the modern ways of sophisticated trips, yatras have been part of India’s cultural and social life. People used to visit famous temples and religious shrines even when they didn’t have means of travelling. Long distances were travelled by foot or using animals as carriers. For example, the religious significance of Char Dham Yatra, Dwadash Jyotirling Yatra and 51 Shaktipeeth Yatra is as old as hills.
Thus, the PM established a crucial link between ancient and modern India, and he successfully touched a right chord with the common man of the country.
India is a land of rich social and cultural diversity. A globetrotter has a lot of things to see and experience. The land has always attracted foreigners to visit and explore a lot of things. This has called for a need to develop infrastructure. With increase in facilities, there is an increase in attraction among the tourists. The best example of this is Kashi Vishwanath temple in Varanasi and Kedarnath temple. Before the renovation of Kashi Vishwanath, around 80 lakh people used to visit the temple in a year. However, the number of visitors crossed 7 crore after the renovation. Similarly, Kedarnath temple witnessed footballs of 15 lakh devotees as compared to 4-5 lakh before the reconstruction of Kedarghati.
Along with infrastructure, the PM also underlined the importance of increase in civic amenities, good digital connectivity, and health sector. About the Vibrant Village Scheme, launched by the central government, PM Modi said, “Our villages are becoming centres of tourism.” To boost village tourism near border areas, the PM emphasised the need to support businesses such as homestays, small hotels, and restaurants.
Finally, Shri Modi spoke about the potential of destination weddings in India. Notably, Tent City Varanasi, virtually inaugurated by Shri Modi, emerged as a beautiful location for couples to tie the knots.
Tourism is more than a physical experience; apart from relaxing your nerves, it transforms our personality from within. It’s a mental, social, and spiritual rejuvenation that strengthens and develops our mind and the way of thinking. It can change one’s perception towards a particular place and people living there. By travelling places, we get to know about the culture, society and day-to-day life of people.